Public servant, campaigner, and founder member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

Born: 5 March 1944

Died: 17 February 2015

Christine Davis, who has died aged 70, was a public servant with a passionate enthusiasm for green energy, open access to legal services and reconciliation between faith communities. When she was reappointed chair of the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board in February 2002, it was on the basis that she held no other public appointment. This unlikely claim provoked Alex Neil of the SNP to raise a point of order in the Scottish Parliament. Christine Davis was also a member of the independent assessors' panel for public appointments. Could Presiding Officer David Steel use the powers of his office to get the Scottish Executive to tell the truth for a change?

Neil was on firm ground, for Christine Davis' working life was one long sequence of public appointments. In 40 years of public life, she attended to everything from the wages of Shetland sheep farmers to paralegal advice centres in Kwazulu-Natal, and pioneered causes such as green energy and digital government long before they became fashionable. Extraordinarily accomplished in the often undervalued skills of committee management and corporate decision-making, she remained modest about her own achievements, writing "I'm like a magpie, I've learned to gather experiences, store the treasures and use them where I can."

Christine Agnes Murison Aitken was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, the only daughter of William Russell Aitken and his wife Betsy Murison. Her father, a noted scholar librarian and friend and editor of Hugh MacDiarmid, was successively county librarian for Clackmannanshire, Perth and Kinross and Ayrshire, so she attended Perth and Ayr Academies, before taking a BA in modern history at the University of St Andrews in 1966. In 1968 she married Robin Davis and their twin daughters were born in 1969. Although trained as a teacher she did not return to a conventional classroom but taught for almost ten years at the newly-opened women's prison at HM Prison Cornton Vale, Stirling.

Her public career began modestly enough in 1972 on Dunblane town council, but within two years she had been appointed to the Electricity Consultative Council North of Scotland district, the start of a lifelong concern with energy matters. She was its chair for ten years from 1980-90, while serving concurrently on the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board.

In 1992 she joined the board of Energy Action Scotland, which campaigns for an end to fuel poverty, and was its convenor from 2005-08; she also served for ten years as a trustee of the National Energy Foundation, as it broadened its remit from domestic energy efficiency to non-domestic, renewables and energy transition. When, in the teeth of the 2008 financial crisis, she took over as chair of ScottishPower's Green Energy Trust, she continued with her usual calm resolve to assert that even little things make a difference. "I want to see empty wheelie bins everywhere," she said.

Her most notable public service, for which she received the CBE in 1997, was as founder member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board from its establishment in 1987, and chair from 1991-98. She recalled wryly the apprehension which many in the legal profession had felt when the board took over statutory responsibility from the Law Society of Scotland; ten years later she was able to report that while the budget had risen by 200% over the period, administration costs and turn-around times had both been halved. Her passion for ensuring open and timely access to legal services also carried her on to the Scottish Committee Council on Tribunals, the Scottish Executive Justice Department board for appointment of High Court judges and the Secretary of State's Criminal Justice Forum.

The high value which she placed on people, time and resources sprang directly from the religious faith which was at the core of her life. Originally Presbyterians (her grandfather was a minister), her family found the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the mid 1950s, and greatly boosted the small Scottish community, setting up new meetings in Ayr and St Andrews. Lacking clergy, Quakers manage their communal life by committee, and her skills were soon in demand, both within and without Scotland. She clerked every level of Quaker meeting, culminating in three years as clerk to the national body, Britain Yearly Meeting, from 1991-4. She presided over the once-in-a-generation acceptance by Quakers of a revision of their Book of Discipline, the fruit of ten years' hard work by a revision committee, on which she had, unsurprisingly, also served.

Her ecumenical background led inevitably to an involvement with church and faith relationships, and other churches were quick to see the value of the skills she brought. When the new Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland was established in 1990, incorporating Catholics for the first time, she was nominated as the Scottish representative, and the only woman, among the six presidents. Rather than treating this just as a ceremonial position, she seized the opportunity to demonstrate the value of Quaker ways of conducting business. She was the British churches representative on the first Ecumenical Eminent Persons Group which visited South Africa in September 1992 in the wake of the Boipatong and Bisho massacres, when negotiations between the de Klerk government and the ANC hung in the balance. The subsequent ecumenical monitoring programme was one of the initiatives credited with contributing to the successful 1994 election.

She continued her international involvement through almost 20 years of service on the Quaker grant-giving body, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. She was closely associated with its work in Ireland and in South Africa.

Her family life and the roots which she and Robin put down in Dunblane, where Robin was a university librarian, were the still centre of all this whirling activity. She drew heavily too on quieter activities which she had inherited from her parents, on sewing and embroidery and on poetry. Her one published work, Minding the Future, based on a Quaker public lecture in 2008, incorporated poems by Hugh MacDiarmid and William Soutar, as well as other poets whom she had discovered for herself.

Christine Davis laid down many of her responsibilities only at the start of 2015 at the onset of her devastatingly swift terminal illness. She died six weeks later at her home in Dunblane. She is survived by her husband Robin, daughter Marion, and three grandchildren, Caitlin, Arwen and David. Her daughter Alison predeceased her.